'Real Zero' Requires Real Change

August 2021 | Hover Energy

'Real Zero' Requires Real Change

Chris Griffin, President & CEO, Hover Energy

We have a significant problem with the current carbon mitigation efforts on this planet; they are having too small an impact to prevent us from warming past the point of catastrophic damage. Whether or not one agrees with the timing really doesn’t matter; the actions of humans are having a direct impact on our environment, and in many ways, it’s gotten worse!

Now I, for one, believe the planet can heal itself, as painful as it might be for all of us. But... I am also a staunch advocate for ‘good stewardship.’ And the fact is, we are NOT stewarding our planet well at all. In fact, the latest report (“AR6 Climate Change 2021”) from the IPCC proves that we are destroying it through our continued dependency on carbon, mindless deforestation, massive waste creation, continued ocean pollution and inferior manufacturing processes. Of course, none of this is news to anyone... but our solutions to date are wildly unsatisfactory, and indeed could be cataclysmic. We need better answers, period.

While an admirable sustainability goal, Net Zero is often more of a suspect accounting exercise than an actual decarbonization effort. Consider this: if I am a corporation that emits 3X the amount of carbon I did last year, BUT I also bought an equal number of carbon credits through virtual PPAs, I can claim I have achieved Net Zero, and I am heralded in the community as a champion for the climate; a “hero” even...!

HOWEVER, I am still emitting 3X as much carbon as last year and simultaneously contributing 3X as much to our planet warming.  How is that helpful?  Why is no one crying foul at this ‘game-playing' with carbon accounting? Read the IPCC Report; it’s not helping fast enough.

If we’re going to have any chance of getting to global carbon neutrality in the next 40 years, we MUST deploy better, difference-making technologies immediately and at scale. Historical wind and solar, while helpful, will not get us there, and the traditional technologies being used remain dramatically inefficient. So why are we settling for 20% (solar) to 35% (wind) efficiencies? If your child came home with a 35 on a test, not to mention a 20, what would you say? Shouldn’t we be saying the same thing to the industries to whom we are throwing trillions and trillions of dollars and asking them to be the primary driver in this effort to decarbonize? Well, I’m saying it right now; we NEED better performance now…

If we can develop, distribute and vaccinate half the planet in one year, why are we not doing the same thing with new technologies that can save the planet on which we just saved the people? Do we not believe it is a matter of life and death? Perhaps some people have too much to lose, but that sounds like the age-old argument of “too big to fail”! And we all know how that ended up…

Secretary Jennifer Granholm of the US Department of Energy, testifying on Capitol Hill on June 23, 2021, said it this way, “If we don’t take action, where are we with regard to other disasters?” We must treat this like our life depends on it….because it may!

My personal favorite recent quote is from USA Today’s Sustainability Special Edition for 2021 when on p. 56, Scott Shell, a Principal of N.C.-based Duda Paine Architects, said, “We are stewards of our environment.  (Sustainability is) going to become more and more important. We need to do everything we can. Buildings use the majority of energy. As architects, we bear some of the responsibility to help mitigate those things.” That’s what I call LEADERSHIP, holding his own industry accountable. I love it.  Nicely said, Scott!

Indeed, when recently announcing some building efficiency measures, “Americans spend about $100 billion every year on wasted energy from buildings, heating and cooling units, and more – increasing energy bills and needless emissions that dirty our air and worsen the climate crisis,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “By pursuing advancements that make both existing and newly constructed buildings more energy-efficient, we can save consumers money and reduce the climate impacts of the places we live and work.”

In the past three months, we have seen Net Zero goals and targets from countless corporations, municipalities, countries and every other organization under the sun.  I’ve counted 61 new targets since Memorial Day alone.  Should we not be marshaling every resource, discussing this in every circle (like we all did for COVID) and forcing the acceleration of all forms of new technology to solve this issue? 

We are ecstatic to see newly appointed Jigar Shah stepping up the US DOE Loan Program Office’s efforts to facilitate the scaling of new technologies into the marketplace and commend the measures that the DOE and Secretary Granholm are supporting on behalf of hydrogen power, storage technologies, and electrification of vehicles. These are significant steps in helping us all achieve ‘real zero’ through better stewardship of ALL of our resources.  Breakthrough Energy’s $1.5 Billion (equity) pledge to assist with the DOE Loan Program’s rollout support of all these technologies is an incredibly bold effort. Imagine if there were 50 such pledges . . . what could be possible? I dare say it’s almost like rolling out a vaccine to the whole planet in one year!

Can we get going with some real change in the industry now, please??  We’ve proven it's possible, so I say let’s follow this outstanding leadership we are seeing!

At Hover, we believe we’ve developed a solution that can help accelerate change. We have proven a doubling of efficiency (44% versus a previous industry high of 21% for wind under 100kW in size), shattering all previous performance metrics for rooftop power. In addition, we’ve combined solar and storage through a one-of-a-kind Integrated Energy Management System (“IEMS”) that combines power streams at the microgrid level and magnifies the clean power supply even further!  It took massive hard work, over nearly ten years of R&D, a great deal of capital, multiple deployments and 32 Patents, BUT we did it. Now, we are partnered with some of the world’s best to install all over the world, one site at a time.

And we are here to assist with Distributed Power Production for anyone, standing at the ready to make a real difference. Your building, your power. 

Sure, I love that we did something super cool, but we can’t get to Real Zero by ourselves either.  We need each other.  And we are all better when we admit it. 

And I, for one, would love to get better…how about you?

Are you ready?  Give us a call, and let’s steward better together.

We can all contribute.  And we are here to follow outstanding leadership and lead in the areas we can. 

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